Ice climbing in Iceland is an exhilarating experience that takes adventurers to some of the most beautiful and challenging peaks in the world. With its rugged terrain and glaciers, Iceland offers a unique and thrilling ice climbing experience for all levels of climbers. From beginners to experienced climbers, there are a variety of routes to explore and conquer. With the help of experienced guides, climbers can explore the frozen landscape and enjoy the stunning views of Iceland’s majestic nature.
Indulge into an adrenaline rush inducing experience with a comprehensive ice climbing and glacier hiking tour on Skaftafell Glacier. The outlet of the largest glacier in Europe Vatnajokull Glacier, Skaftafell allows you to experience breathtaking views of the ice-covered peaks of Iceland that stand tall (more than 2,000 m) over your helmet. This glacier tour is all about a spectacular landscape that has been the backdrop of several movies including James Bond, Interstellar, and TV series such as Game of Thrones. So you are following the footsteps of Pierce Brosnan, Matt Damon, and Jon Snow.
This is a 4-hour hiking tour and offers several scenic landscapes to view. On this day-hike tour, you will get an incredible perspective of the surrounding mountains, including the Nordic country’s tallest peak – Hvannadalshnukur. You are accompanied by a certified and experienced guide who provides you with the trekking gear that helps you in the tour, teaches you to climb ice shafts and provides you insights about the region.
You park the car at the Skaftafell Visitor Center where you also meet your glacier guide. The guide teaches you the basics of glacier safety, the use of crampons, and ice climbing techniques. The guide also provides you with the necessary equipment necessary for this adventure – crampons, helmets, harnesses, steel frames, and ice axes. Since the glacier is located in Skaftafell Nature Reserves, the guide also informs you about the National Park and the glacier, its geological makeup, and its formation.
Once you reach the foot of the glacier which is a 15-minute walk, the real adventure begins. The guide helps you gear up with the crampons and steel frames that are tied to the hiking boots. You soon commence trekking through the gigantic and mesmerizing white blankets of wilderness, with only noise of the sounds of the boots that tread the snow and ice. Throughout the tour, you will be surrounded by fascinating natural phenomena – glacier Moulin (a vertical canyon that cuts deep into the ice cap), age-old ice sculptures that have now turned blue due to oxygen trapped inside.
You stay on the ice for over 3 hours and witness some beautiful features. The guide often scouts out a new crevasse or Moulin for climbing, as the glacier is impermanent and changes frequently. This helps in avoiding crowds on the glacier as well. To climb ice walls, the guide installs a massive ice screw and attaches the rope to it. Throughout the tour, you will get several opportunities to climb shafts with ice axes that add an edge to this tour.
The tour has a moderate difficulty level. The tour is safe for anyone who is in good physical health. So if you can walk even for an hour on an uneven surface, this glacier hike is perfect for you. You should come prepared as well. Ensure you are properly clothed as the weather in Iceland is unpredictable. It is recommended to wear waterproof clothing as the second layer.
Certified Glacier Guide
All Safety Ice Cave Equipment: harness, crampons, helmet, and ice axe
Ice Climbing Boots
What to bring
Warm clothing (first layer)
Waterproof clothing (second layer)
Gloves – to potect our hands from the ice during the ice climb
Good to know
- This tour is operated in small groups – maximum 6 persons
- This tour doesn’t require prior experience in glacier hiking or ice climbing. It is perfect for beginners as well as those who have been glacier hiking before.
- This tour is suitable for both single travelers, groups and families.
- The duration of the tour is 4 hours but you will spend 150-180 minutes on the ice itself.
- The meeting point is Skaftafell Terminal by the main road. You can look up “Skaftafell Terminal” on Google Maps to find the exact location and driving directions.
Most frequent questions and answers
The meeting point is Skaftafell Terminal by the main road. You can look up “Skaftafell Terminal” on Google Maps to find the exact location and driving directions.
We will see you at our meeting point 20 minutes before the departure time stated on your ticket. Please note that if you arrive after departure time, your place on the tour can’t be guaranteed or refunded.
Driving time from Reykjavik to Skaftafell is around 4 hours and 30 minutes. If you arrive early, you can visit Skaftafell Terminal which offers free parking and has restrooms. There are also a lot of interesting locations to explore in Skaftafell.
We encourage bringing hiking boots for glacier tours. They have to hard on the sole and tight around the ankle. If you don’t have them, we have them for rent in all sizes in Skaftafell or Sólheimajökull. You can add them to your reservation at the time of booking or rent them on location pay with cash or card. The price is ISK 1,500 per pair. For ice climbing tours, boots are included in the price.
Weather in Iceland is very unpredictable. For tours during winter: warm clothing as first layer, waterproof jacket with a hoodie, hiking boots with ankle protection and hard sole, a hat and gloves are ideal. For tours during summer, bringing a light rain jacket or a soft shell with a hoodie is in most cases enough protection. Icelanders often say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes”. Jeans are not recommended for the tour as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when they get wet.
It rains a lot in Iceland, but we do not let rain stop us from going out and enjoy nature. All we need to do is choose our clothing wisely, which is why we recommend wearing waterproof clothing as the second layer. Of course, safety is our #1 priority. In case of extreme weather conditions, we will cancel our tours and do our best to reschedule. In these cases, you’ll receive a full refund.
This is a personal choice. We have had pregnant women on our glacier hikes and we always recommend you read the description of the activity to get a better idea. In any case, feel free to contact our Service Team for further questions and concerns.
We offer glacier hiking tours in Skaftafell and one in Sólheimajökull. Both locations are easy or moderate in difficulty. Our tours are considered to be safe for anyone in good physical condition. If you are fit to walk for about an hour on an uneven surface a glacier hike is for you. Longer tours will be more challenging in endurance and some areas of the glacier. We also recommend you remember that we offer all the safety equipment necessary and you will be hiking with a professional and certified glacier guide. If you have specific questions regarding one of our glacier tours, feel free to email us.